Join the party. We're celebrating Captain Kangaroo's birthday (June 27, 1927 - Jan. 23, 2004).
I was almost 4 years old when his television show premiered on Oct. 3, 1955. Played by Robert James Keeshan, he was loved for more than 30 years by an estimated 220 million baby boomers as a gentle, fatherly figure.
Keeshan was the first actor to play the character of the Auguste clown, Clarabell, who answered questions by honking horns attached to a belt around his waist. One horn was for yes and one was for no.
He used characters like Mr. Green Jeans, Mr. Moose, Mr. Rabbit and Dancing Bear to teach lessons on morality that gave children a sense of well being and confidence.
Known as an actor, television producer, teacher, storyteller, children's advocate and author, Keeshan encouraged parents to read to their children daily.
Captain Kangaroo reinforced the truth that children need more love, less criticism and daily encouragement. In an interview with L. Wayne Hicks, Keeshan was asked how he wanted to be remembered. He replied, "...just that I made children feel a little better about themselves." He went on to say, "The best teacher, whether it is a kindergarten teacher or a college professor, is one who entertains and engages the mind of the student."
Hope you enjoy celebrating Captain Kangaroo's birthday. Oh, you didn't bring a present? Here's a gift he might like. Go home and hug your children and your grandchildren, read a book to them and take a look at what they are watching on television and who their mentors are.
Open the Bible and let them see what God says about them in Psalm 139.14 (KJV) - "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works."
And don't forget your charge - "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" Proverbs 22:6 (KJV).
If you want to be remembered for helping a child feel better about him or herself, honk "yes."
Colleen Capes Jackson is the director of the East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers and can be reached at 404-444-7514.